Ceramic rattle. Chiriquí period, AD 800–1500. Bugaba, Panama. Latin American Archaeology, Gore Collection. UMMAA 2443.

In 1925, Mrs. E. B. Gore dug this small figurine from a cave in the foothills of the Volcano de Chiriquí in Bugaba, Panama. In letters to Museum director Carl Guthe, Mrs. Gore describes how a local guide led her to the small cave, where she excavated into two graves “with my fingers.” The discovery of gold in the graves of Chiriquí chiefly elites in Panama and Costa Rica led to considerable looting of archaeological sites. Mrs. Gore, who was in Panama with her husband, the general superintendent of the National Railroad of Chiriquí, had apparently caught the archaeology bug. The detailed information in her letters allows us to identify the general location of the site with greater precision than is often possible with similar collections acquired by museums in the early 20th century.

Back to Day 89 or continue to Day 91.

In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.